Posted: August 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
Being born in the 70’s gave you the distinction of being born just after some of the worst times in American history… The Civil Rights Movement. Now there was still a fair amount of racial tension but the blood shed and riots of previous years took their toll on everyone. The die hard racists agreed to disagree and a desire for peace was nourished by all races. It is now 48yrs later and the growing number murdered African Americans at the hands of whites has relit the fuse. Blood in the streets and justice denied based upon the color of your skin.
Lately, My Facebook feed has been flooded with video and stories of unarmed young black men shot or choked to death. Many of these stories never made it to national news. There have been 5 this past month. Michael Brown- Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner-Staten Island, NY , Ezell Ford – LA, Dante Parker -Victoville,CA , and John Crawford in Ohio. It appears that our justice system has become bored with the whole innocent till proven guilty process when it comes to African American males. The process is now straight to judgment. Or “Legal Lynching” as I call it. It doesn’t happen to any other race. The police have already made their minds up when it comes to African Americans. One video went viral recently of white cop straddling and punching a black woman on the side of the freeway. The message appears quite clear. Racism 2.0 is full effect and threatens to reopen old wounds of the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s.
I was hoping and praying that when LeBron James left the Miami Heat to re-sign with Cleveland Cavaliers, he would cite Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws as a reason he left. I would have been so proud to see him giving a press conference and explaining how the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis affected his decision. I could just see him sitting at the podium and telling the whole room how uncomfortable he was raising his sons in a state where any white man could shoot and kill his boys and get away with it. Jordan Davis’s killer, Michael Dunn only got convicted of attempted murder for each of the 3 boys that were with Davis in the truck Dunn shot up. Dunn won’t serve a day for Davis’s murder. George Zimmerman as we all know was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder even with overwhelming evidence against him. Who could blame LeBron? Could you live in a state under those conditions and you had the power to leave? The Miami Heat as well as the City of Miami are expected to suffer significant financial loses not to mention potential championships. LeBron had a golden opportunity to strike a huge blow for the African American community. Hitting a city or state in the wallet is the only way to make them listen. The best basketball player in the world could have led the way.
I am hoping our more affluent and successful African Americans take the lead. Their money and influence could go a long way to help bring us together as a people to combat these tragic events. We need our Lawyers and politicians to lead us politically and legally. They can voice our displeasure throughout our government. Yet I feel as if I am asking too much. Many of our more successful African Americans have chosen to remain silent and not take a stand. It seems like that they don’t want to risk endorsements or contracts by being too political and taking a stand. Many of our African American lawyers and politicians are too absorbed in themselves or their political party to set anything in motion. So it’s left up to the rest of us. The working poor, The hopeless, disenfranchised, victimized, and angry rest of us. We are therefore left with our only option … Riot. That’s the only time the media seems or wants to listen. Our parents felt the same way in Detroit in 1968. They faced the dogs and water hoses to make things better for our community. It appears that 48ys later, Ferguson, MO has become ground zero for another phase of the Civil Rights Movement. If it has truly come to that, then I must prepare myself. The strange fruit that once hung from trees in the south now grow on the streets and sidewalks of our cities. Planted by seeds of injustice and fertilized by racism. If I must face the dogs and water hoses to end this vicious harvest, then so be it. The next generations of African Americans are at stake. Holla if you hear me!
Posted: August 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
I remember as a boy first hearing Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. I was moved by the strength of those words. Dr. King had a huge dream and he knew he may not be alive to see it but fought for it as if it was just around the corner. Racial equality was his dream then and during that speech, everyone shared his dream. As a young boy, I made sure I kept his dream in my thoughts. Now as a grown man, I see another meaning to his speech.
Some people dream and dismiss it as entertainment for a sleeping mind. I see it differently. A dream can be almost prophetic. Matter of fact, a dream can be 100% Prophetic if that is what you want and the size of the dream means nothing. Dream big, huge. Then do the things that would get you towards that dream. I believe that a dream is a future just waiting for a little work. That’s what I get out of Dr. Kings speech now. Overcoming Jim Crow and powering the Civil Rights Movement seemed like a far fetched dream. The work Dr. King put in made that dream close to reality. The only thing needed is for us to put in more work.
I also have a dream. That dream is called Detroit. I dream of my hometown becoming a thriving downtown tourist spot. A new shopping mall downtown along with nice town houses in walking distance of arts and entertainment. I dream about two more light rails in Detroit. There should be one that runs the length of Grand River for the west side and another running the length of Gratiot on the east side. The light rails will connect neighborhood people with good paying jobs. I also dream about my fellow artists here in Detroit. Many go unsung for the simple fact that we are not in L.A. or New York. I dream that all that changes and we become the new Motown Sound. Are you willing to put in the work in? Are you dreaming big enough with me? Holla if you hear me!
Posted: July 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Summertime in Detroit is always a good time. The Riverwalk is alive with people enjoying beautiful days by the Detroit river. Lunchtime at Campus Martius is the new hotspot for everyone working downtown Monday-Friday. A cleaner and ever improving Belle Isle continue to host all comers looking for outdoor fun but this summer, there is a dark cloud hovering overhead.
In March, The Detroit Water and Sewage Department began hiring contractors and sending them out to shutoff water to those who owe $150 or 60 days delinquent in paying their water bill. On top of this, an 8.7% across the board rate increase. The first people targeted of course were the people. Average people in Detroit are trying to make a comeback after the economic downturn. I am all for paying your bills but there are 3 glaring points that make the execution of this very wrong.
1. Detroit is the only city targeted. The Department of Water and Sewage covers 40% of ALL MICHIGAN not just Detroit. I have a hard time believing that Detroit is the only city with massive delinquent water bills. Why not a total sweep of all areas?
2. The numbers don’t lie. Although the unemployment rate went from 24.8% in 2010 to 9.8% in 2013, the median household income in Detroit is 38.5% less than the Michigan average and 45.85 less than the national average. The poverty level in Detroit is 157.4% greater than the Michigan average and 112.1% greater than the national average. (Source: areavibes.com) Many citizens are still playing economic catch up with less than adequate income. The Water Department itself shed 81% of its jobs. Those who remained see wage and benefit cuts.
3. Favoritism. The advantages of the top 1% have been well documented. It appears it applies to the water as well. While the Water Department was going after the little guys, big businesses were riding massive overdue bills without a care. VARGO GOLF owes for 2 properties. One for $478,207.59 ($437,714.11 past due) and the other $109,897.25 ($100.527.58 past due). Even the state of Michigan itself has a nice hefty bill $86,889.73 ($70,426.02 past due).
Recently, as many as 1000 people have marched and rallied downtown with more protest to come, Canada has offered to bring water over for the less fortunate. The United Nations has declared water a human right. What will the out come be? We will have to wait and see. It has become clear that if you are willing to take water from the poor, then you are willing to take anything from anybody. Especially if its for politics. Holla if you hear me!
Posted: June 24, 2014 in Reflections
Recently, I have been thinking about the quest to make money. I know what you are about say, “Why now? You should always think about making money.” The truth is that I don’t. It enters into my mind maybe once every two weeks or so. I know your next question summed up in one word…Why? Well I will tell you.
For the record, yes I would like to be rich. Famous would be nice too but not necessary. However, when and if that happens I want to be mentally ready. I know a lot of people who want to be rich but I almost fear what they would turn out to be. Money doesn’t solve your problems. It enhances them. I know you would get yourself out of debt, buy homes for your family, and want for nothing. Sounds cool doesn’t it? What isn’t cool is that you are soon broke. Why? You started in debt which means that you were probably bad at budgeting from the start. Your rags to riches and back to rags story confirms it.
I don’t watch reality shows but you don’t have to in order to find out the latest foolishness. It winds up on the news or TMZ and you say “I would never do that”. If you have unresolved personal issues, you could. Drugs, Sex, Anger, Jealousy, and Narcissism all become magnified by your new social status. Any one of these can ruin your life in an instant. Greed makes it 10x’s worse. Some would fight to stay rich. Even commit murder.
Most of my friends and family are talented, very talented. Any of them can easily be thrust into superstardom overnight. Here in Detroit, we are rich with talent. The harsh economic climate had given our local artist time and incentive to perfect their passions. I hope however, that they take the time to read this. I want them to take the time to perfect their souls as well as their craft. Personal wealth comes from within. Deal with your faults and seek peace with yourself. So when fortune comes your way, YOU are in control and not fame. Holla if you hear me!
- K. Greene
Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
The literary community lost a giant in Maya Angelou. It shook me not because of legacy she left, but the future of the literary arts going forward. Ms. Angelou’s timeless wisdom poured out in her writing as water from a fountain. Little did she know that her writing would nourish us all.
I admit some frustration in my work as of late. My words didn’t seem to fit their arrangement. The voice I had built in my writing now became as a foreign language. A writer without his words is like a singer without a song. Writer’s block is what it’s commonly called. Maya Angelou’s death shattered that block. The reason I love to write became clear. Words spoken can be easily forgotten. However, Words well written last forever. People die but words do not. The proper words could Inspire, Destroy, Teach, or Create. A poem could bring true love or warn of moral doom. This led me to a chilling realization. The Literary arts are in danger.
Social media has the world communicating like never before. Facebook and Twitter has been leading the way and that scares me. A thought has a 140 character limit so it is hacked to death in illegible, slang-ridden shorthand. Facebook is littered with rants absent of punctuation and heavy laden in misspelling. The thoughts they are trying to convey become a mass of twisted prepositional phrases void of direction. This is now how we communicate and how can we communicate like this? Are we to write books and poetry like this as well?
Maya Angelou’s shoes are too big for one person to fill. We all have to. Everyone inspired by her writing must honor her memory by holding true to our craft. We have to be the ones that use our words to inspire, create, uplift, warn, and encourage. As writers, we have to show the world the proper way to communicate. Our words have to pass our wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the ages with clarity and definition. Brother and Sister Writers, There will not be another Maya Angelou. She left a legacy to inspire us for we still must Rise! Holla if you hear me!
P.S. New Twitter handle!! @KellyGLive72
Posted: June 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
The second Saturday of every month is sacred to a group of writers in Detroit. Each second Saturday, the Motown Writers Network get together, Network and share in our creative struggles. Some of us stay after. It is then that we really commune with our literary brothers and sisters. Some of the most interesting conversations between writers happen at this time. One particular Saturday, the conversation gave birth to a magnificent event. We often talk about engaging Detroit’s youth. This time we committed to making it happen!
We were tired of seeing our young men in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time, we are going to do something about it. We want to inspire the next generation of male writers. We want to promote literacy. We want to encourage the young men in our community to read more to elevate themselves above violence. To write their feelings instead of take them out into the streets. Some young men have poetry in their souls and don’t realize it.
Jwyenza Michael Collins, Editor and Publisher of Scribblers, Screamer, and other Word Slingers Magazine (SSW Magazine) spearheaded the Real Men Write initiative. Along with the Motown Writer’s Network, a program has been put together intended to inspire and enrich the lives of all young men that attend. Mr. Collins believes that the only way to inspire young men is to show them Real Men. On June 8th, SSW Magazine and the Motown Writers Network present: REAL MEN WRITE. The most talented male writers in Detroit will be assembled at Barnes and Noble on the Wayne State Campus, located on Warren & Cass in Detroit. The Writers include: Walter O’Bryant, Eddie Connor, Jesse Cole, Khary Turner, Shaka Senghor, Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur, and poet extraordinaire Caesar Torreano. Each writer will share his journey and accomplishments, as well as his own thoughts on the state of literacy in our community. There will also be a Q&A segment where you can feel free to ask our panelist anything you want!
Real Men Write begins promptly at 10AM. Get there early, seats will fill up fast! If you have a young man in your life, bring him down! Or just come by yourself and get acquainted with our community’s top male writers. Real men do indeed write and on June 8th, SSW Magazine and Motown Writers Network will be happy to show you a few! Holla if you hear me! I take that back… GO IF YOU HEAR ME!!!!
The hot topic in Detroit these days is Kwame Kilpatrick found guilty of several counts of racketeering and bribery. Many will see March 12th as a turning point in Detroit history. I don’t see it that way. Some see it as a sad day for the City of Detroit. I don’t see it that way either.
I watched the trial with some interest. I couldn’t help it. The news wouldn’t talk about anything else. Where ever Kwame went, there were cameras capturing his every step. Those steps will turn out to be some of his last as a free man. Kwame knew this day was coming. The Federal Government had been watching him since 2002. The evidence was overwhelming. All he could do was lower his head and place his hand on his forehead. Kwame once claimed “It will be impossible for me to get a fair trial in Detroit. I would come out better if they hung me from that giant fist downtown”. The reality of the situation dealt him a crushing blow. The king of Detroit has fallen.
I lowered my head and put my hand on my forehead as well. Why? Because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing afterwards. I understood those who sympathized with Kwame. Outside of his mischief, Kwame was a very charismatic and hands on mayor(No pun intended). He made himself accessible to the public and helped bring the Super Bowl to Detroit. Dave Bing Recently turned down an opportunity for Detroit to host the Olympics. Detroit was blissfully happy while Kwame was in office. The recession proved that Detroit’s Bliss overshadowed its ever-increasing debt.
What I didn’t understand was the media blaming Detroit’s problems all on Kwame. I watched as news broadcast after news broadcast covered the verdict as if Detroit had finally won a war against its worst enemy. Some stations went as far to proclaim this day as a victory for Detroit. How? I don’t see any winners. Detroit is still broke and Kwame lost his freedom. Channel 7 news said that including Kwame, 35 people have been indicted under his administration. As they scrolled the names of the people and their charge or charges across the screen, I made a observation. They included City Council members and a few of their appointees as well. City Council members are elected by the people, not Kwame. At least 20 of the 35 mentioned had nothing to do with Kwame’s corruption case. Yet the news says it’s all under Kwame. This reporting has some people convinced that Detroit is where it is today because of Kwame.
I have a hard time believing that one man caused Detroit to be in the condition that it is in today. Kwame Kilpatrick stepped down in September of 2008. So in 4 1/2 years nobody did anything to improve the city of Detroit. Blaming Kwame should have ended a long time ago. Now the Verdict for Detroit: Guilty and sentenced to an Emergency Financial Manager for 18 months. Holla if you hear me!
There are people in Detroit that very seldom get the recognition they deserve. Crime and Kwame Kilpatrick seem to dominate the news these days and there is no room for good people. I want to change that. Today I want to tell you about someone who does a lot of good in the city of Detroit not to mention extremely talented! That person is Ber-henda Williams.
Ber-henda is known throughout the city as one of our top poets. She has several books to her credit and dazzles audiences by performing in both English and Spanish. Ber-henda also hosts a reality show titled “B in the City”. Her most notable achievement is founding the The Power of Girlhood girls mentoring program. In this program, Ber-henda uses poetry to inspire girls in the areas of self-esteem, education, and setting goals. Most importantly, she also stresses an important relationship with God. No matter where she performs or who she speaks to, her faith is always at the fore front.
“I want to change how people view poetry, ” said Williams. “Some say it’s a dead art form, but not in Detroit. It’s poetry that’s relatable, to help answer questions about God, Faith and Life.
This Thursday September 13 at Artist Villiage, you get to see that firsthand. There will be a special performance of “One Night With The Honey B and Friends” hosted by Khary Kimani Turner. Ber-henda will be unleashing poetry, inspiration, and praise along with her friends: Walter(HAZMAT)Howard, Rosemarie Wilson (One Single Rose), and Nathan “Drizzle” Johnson. I am also hearing whispers of a surprise guest or two. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door (See the link below). The best thing about the prices, is the fact that a portion of the proceeds go to Power of Girlhood girls mentoring program! The show is from 6pm-9pm so that makes it the perfect afterwork event. Artist Village is located at 17340 Lahser Rd Detroit,MI 48219 near Grand River. I advise everyone to check this out!!! This is Hollaifyouhearme.com approved!
For Tickets and info:
I remember my first conversation with Kwame Kilpatrick. I was at the union hall of my former place of employment. My former co-workers and I were on strike and Kwame, Mayor of Detroit at that time came out to show his support. Since then, both of us have lost our jobs. I lost mine to the economy. His own debauchery cost him his. Tonight, five years later, our paths have crossed once again. At a hotel ballroom in Detroit, The Detroit Chapter of National Association of Black Journalist (DC-NABJ) had him front and center. Thank God I am a member!
He didn’t have to do this. He faced the press on many occasion before he moved to Dallas. There is no doubt that he will face the press again during his upcoming federal trial. However, this time it will be quite different. Kwame promised this session will be no holds barred, any question answered! So I wasn’t surprised to see all the well-known white journalists who filled out membership applications, and paid the fee to be a black journalist for one night. Kwame was his usual charismatic self, but his message was very much unusual.
Everyone in the room expected him to elaborate on cheating on his wife, Tamara Greene (Which he says that he never met her), and his restitution payments. Instead, his mind was on the future…Detroit’s future and his own. He stressed how sorry he was for his actions while in office, yet he is adamant that he is not responsible for Detroit’s current state. He also says that he wants to help Detroit move forward. Kwame believes that unless that people lets go of blaming him for Detroit’s current condition, they will never identify Detroit’s problems. He said “I want to reintroduce myself the best way I know how; for those who are still angry with me.”
I will tell you how he did Next Week in Part 2 of “Kwame Kilpatrick: Front and Center” Holla if you hear me!
- K. Greene
I bet before you got your first car or motorcycle, you were passionate about your first bicycle! I still remember mine. It was an all black Huffy dirt bike and took on whatever terrain I decided to travel. That first bike is a kid’s first taste of independent transportation. Suddenly, a whole new world opens up.
This Saturday July 14th from 3pm – Dusk at the Belle Isle Bandshell, Project A.R.T. will give away bikes to metro Detroit kids at their first annual: “YaPeoples Day Hip-Hop Fest and Bike to Summer School Rally”. There will be refreshments, games, and a DJ. Belle Isle Bandshell will be rockin as local artist take to the stage and show their stuff! In between performances, Project A.R.T. will raffle off one of the many donated bikes they have received. Project A.R.T. believes that these bikes will help kids get back and forth to school without being dependant on an unreliable bus system. Furthermore, the bikes will help keep kids healthy and fit. The day will be topped off by a performance by R&B recording artist Shanice!! She will be performing her hit single “I Like Your Smile”! I urge everyone to go out and take part in this event Saturday. If you know a child in need of a bike, bring them!!
My hat is off to the folks at Project A.R.T.!! K.D., Sista Sayre, and Jeana Tall! Its times like these where the true leaders in our community step up. I told K.D. I thought what they were doing was Great! He said “Naw, YaPeoples is doing this”. I like how he put it! Holla if you hear me!
For more info or donations contact;
Sista Sayre (313) 600-3809
Posted: May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
If you have been following hollaifyouhearme.com for the past year, you would know how much I love the Belle Isle Aquarium. Belle Isle Aquarium is the source of fond childhood memories for many metro Detroiters. The field trips, the family outings, an early afternoon date through this building brought smiles to all. Even the vast array of fish that called this place home, seem to enjoy the endless parade of human beings that passed their windows. In 2005, the Aquarium was closed due to city budget cuts. Since then, a valiant group of volunteers known as The Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium have refused to let the historic building die. Their efforts have not gone un-noticed. On February 4th, 2012, a little over 4,000 people came out for a one time reopening of the aquarium. It was a great start but much more is needed and you can be a part of it. Also, you can have a great time in the process!
Thursday May 31st, Belle Isle Aquarium is having a fundraiser from 7pm-11pm. There will be hors d’oeuvres provided by many of Detroit’s top restaurants including The Whitney and Union Street. There will also be magicians, Detroit fire performers, and burlesque dancers. Not to mention, plenty of music! Tickets are $50 and available at the door. Do not let the price scare you off! All proceeds will go directly to Belle Isle Aquarium! Restoring the Belle Isle Aquarium is very important. We must keep this historic building open and operating better than ever for all to enjoy! Holla if you hear me!
As a member of the Motown Writers Network, I look forward to our monthly meetups. The amount of information and support that I get from my fellow writers is enormous. We also spend a huge amount of time networking at these meetings resulting in powerful collaborations.
April is our poetry month so we decided to invite our friends and literary cousins Poetry, Pages, and Scribes to our monthly meetup. We also had the pleasure of Ber-Henda Williams, host of the YouTube show “B in the City” who is also a powerful poet in her own right hosting it. As an added bonus, the representatives from poetry power plants Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe and Manila Bay Cafe were present. The host of the newest poetry venue 1917 American Bistro made sure it wasn’t left out. It was cool to have Detroit’s best writers, poets, and the venues that have shown us love, together in one place. This doesn’t happen often. This was shaping up to be the biggest literary gathering since our Literary Jam and Conference last November!
At the halfway point of the meetup, a massive networking session ensued. Poets and Writers exchanged business cards and ideas in a flurry of chatter. Many of us were already fans of each others work, but today, we had the opportunity to express our appreciation for each other’s work and discuss opportunities to create together. We also shared our struggles with the creative process as well, new bonds were being formed among Detroit’s top literary minds. There was a powerful positive energy in the air and it charged every body in the room! A few of the poets even blessed us by performing some of their stellar pieces: including our gracious host.
When the meeting ended, the networking resumed and many of us hung around to forge bonds and friendships. After talking to a few people, I found myself pinned against a wall admiring the scene. Detroit is in dire need of a shot in the arm. Something that could raise the spirits of its citizens and get them through these dark days. That shot may come from the artist assembled here; and many here in this cafe are up to the challenge.
This Saturday morning in Detroit may go down in history as the start of the new Detroit Literary Movement.
Just remember that you hear it here first! Holla if you hear me!
Posted: March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: Poem, Trayvon Martin
AT 17 I HAD BIG DREAMS,
I HAD A GIRLFRIEND; I MADE THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM,
I HAD A FAMILY THAT LOVED ME.
I HAD ONLY A PACK OF SKITTLES AND AN ICED TEA.
I DIDN’T KNOW WHY HE WAS CHASING ME.
I DON’T KNOW WHY HE IGNORED MY PLEAS.
THERE HE SHOT ME AND THERE I LAY.
THE POLICE CAME OUT SAID EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
WHY DO I HAVE TO DIE?
WHY DOES HE GO FREE?
I AM TRAYVON MARTIN…WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR ME?
Greetings people!!! I hope everyone is still praying for our city. Judging by the news, we need it now more than ever. I know many of you are angry and discouraged by the actions of a few, but good people still make up the majority of our city. Now, onto the business at hand!
In a prior blog I envisioned 2012 as a big year for Michigan artists. It appears that I was right. Kai Mann released “30 Day Notice” and Andrea Daniel released “Like Gwendolyn” earlier this year. Both books received great reviews. Also, the anticipated Indie film “Sext Messaging” began filming here in Detroit; at the end of February. However, March is bringing in the big guns!
Motown Writer’s Network founder Sylvia Hubbard is releasing her latest book, “Hope Is Love”. This Saturday, March 10th, you can get your hands on a copy and meet with Sylvia at Tom’s Oyster Bar on Jefferson in Downtown Detroit. Sylvia has published 28 books prior to this one and promises to release at least one more before the year is over. This is pretty extra-ordinary for a single mother of three!
March also has another female powerhouse throwing around her literary weight. Fresh off tour performing in the Netherlands with the Dutch group Wunderbraun, poet and singer Rosemarie Wilson is ready to release her second book entitled “Out of Darkness into Light”; and I had the pleasure of reviewing this book ahead of time. If you want to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on the back cover of the book! Also, on March 16th at Manila Bay Café, Rosemarie Wilson will be hosting her Birthday/Book Signing and Release Party. I will definitely be in the building!!
This year is starting off great for our authors and artists, but I have one question, where are our male authors? C’mon fellas, let’s step it up… Including me!!!! I am currently working on my debut piece, but in the meantime, let’s support our entire family of Detroit artists. Only by supporting each other can we become great as a whole! Holla if you hear me!!
I come to you on behalf of thousands who are in need. For all those who have lost much and gained little. For all those who have worked hard but rewarded with less. For every man, woman, and child in Detroit abused or distressed.
I pray for their hearts: May they be strengthened. That they remain encouraged and strong in weathering our social and financial storm. So they may find comfort in one another.
I pray for their minds: May they be open to change. Stimulate their thirst for knowledge and wisdom.
I pray for their homes: May they be allowed to keep them. They need a safe place to rest their weary bodies and minds. A place to shield and nurture their children. Keep the greed of banks at bay. Instruct the banks in the ways of forgiveness and mercy.
Lord I pray for the Police and Fire Departments that you may bless their work. Let them know that they are making a difference in spite of the pay cuts and sacrifices they had to make.
I pray for the prosperity of my city. We need back the jobs that were taken by greed and selfishness. We need our school system returned to health so our children can be inspired by new books and teachers. May old tattered books be a thing of the past. Pass your blessings to teachers willing to teach and instruct our children. I pray that your hand spreads throughout our streets and wipe away the stench of murder and grief. That tears of sorrow be replaced by smiles of hope. I pray that differences be put aside and instead of hands grabbing weapons; hands working together for the good of us all! In all these things I pray, AMEN!
Pray if you hear me!
– K. Greene
February 4th was an ordinary day for most , but for the Belle Isle Aquarium, it was the most important day since it’s closing in 2005. For one day only they were open with actual fish; donated from various private collections. Although they only had eight tanks up and running, the most important thing on the minds of the volunteers, was giving life to one of Detroit’s most cherished landmarks. The volunteers worked long and hard to give the aquarium a proper spit and polish. Belle Isle Conservatory Board Member Vance Patrick has been a long time champion for the aquarium and told me “We got in panic mode 6 months ago.” Patrick along with curator Gary Balduc made sure that the tanks were in tip-top shape for their aquatic inhabitants. All the hard work paid off as Mr. Patrick opened the front door to the aquarium and over 5o faces peered at him through the glass; anxious to enter.
The people kept coming and coming. In the first hour, 400 people made their way through the doors and the line increased by the minute. People in Detroit were finally getting a piece of their history back and they were not going to miss their chance to experience it. The weather was beautiful and it made standing in line that much easier. Some waited over an hour. Gabriel Girard of Detroit said “It’s worth the wait; I don’t know when I will get a chance to go in again.” The line moved steadily until 2pm, then it was time to feed the Shark and the crowd gathered to observe the impressive specimen in action. The aquatic themed artwork that decorated the unoccupied tanks was also impressive.
The Aquarium was buzzing once again but not everyone got a chance to come inside. While on a special tour of the bowels of the aquarium, I received a call from my cousin Karen who informed me that the line was extremely long and down the block and she doubted that she could get inside before the Aquarium closed. I felt bad for her because she drove all the way from Ypsilanti and didn’t get a chance to enjoy the Aquarium as we did as kids and I could hear the disappointment in her voice. I could easily tell that she wasn’t the only one. As time drew near to close, some people felt like my cousin Karen and left the line to make their way to their vehicles. Many looked back while walking hoping to get another chance one day. That is my hope as well.
At the end of the day, over 4,000 people got a chance to go inside of the Belle Isle Aquarium. Many of them put a dollar or two in the donation box, giving what they could to help keep the aquarium going. Other organizations around metro Detroit also came and showed their support. One patron even offered to install Wi-fi in the building; free of charge. Donations given were not enough to fund the complete re-opening of the Belle Isle Aquarium. And unfortunately given Detroit’s financial situation, chances of receiving additional funds from the city to re-open are also slim. But there is hope.
On February 4th, Metro Detroiters joined with the volunteers of Belle Isle Aquarium to show that we want our aquarium back! Vance Patrick and his team of volunteers continue to maintain the Aquarium on a daily basis. And they continue to seek donations and explore all avenues to secure funds to re-open. I pray that we all get our aquarium back soon! Holla if you hear me!
I went to Lutheran High West in Detroit, MI. In 4 yrs, I made a lot of friends. Ayana was one of those friends. She was such a good friend; we kept in touch whenever possible. Facebook helped a lot! Our conversations are a melting pot of where we been, our kids, the people who love us, and the ones that missed out. The usual catching up between old classmates. One conversation I have always avoided was the subject of her ailment. I don’t like to bring up troubling issues. I always try to keep my friend’s mind off unpleasant things. That changed one day. She sent me a link to a movie that totally blew my mind! I had to call her and ask “What the HELL?!”. It was her way of letting me know she was ready to talk about it. Not only that. She wants everybody to know.
The movie was about a young lady who came down with an unexpected disease. No warnings, no sneezing, coughing, or fever. Just the slow deterioration of muscle movement to the point where her family was sure she would not survive. Hope was all but lost until a diagnosis turned everything around. Tests revealed that her body produced high levels of anti-bodies that attack one’s muscle neurons. Also tests were done to check “specific” muscle weakness through repetitive nerve stimulation. She had a severe case of Myastenia Gravis. Myastenia Gravis is not contagious, nor is it hereditary but it is extremely random! It mostly affects women under 40 yrs old and men over 60 yrs old. However, it can occur at any age and race is a non-factor. Muscle weakness is common in 90% of all illnesses and weak eyes or “Cock Eye” is not a sure-fire way to tell if some one has Myastenia Gravis. This is one deceptive disease! Most people go 2 yrs before they are diagnosed, eluding patient and doctor alike!
It all started for Ayana in 1997 when all of a sudden, she could not look down. An M.R.I. turned up nothing and her symptoms went away. Relieved, Ayana went about her normal life appearing none the worse for wear. One morning in 2000 changed all of that. She awoke with one eye closed and the other crossed! An M.R.I. wasn’t going to satisfy her this time and this was ten times more terrifying! It seems that her ordeal in ’97 was only a small piece of a bigger picture. Her condition kept doctors guessing. She went to 3 different doctors before she was finally diagnosed with Myastenia Gravis in 2001. We call it MG. The Doctor’s visits are often and unsettling. I mean, how would you feel if doctors call interns into the room like you were a medical oddity? MG is a neuromuscular disorder which causes chronic weakness. The name itself comes from a Greek translation meaning “Grave Weakness”. The movie she sent me was one of the more extreme cases. Ayana’s symptoms are considered normal. Muscle fasciculations or “Twitches” are common. Also she is often fatigued and subject to blackouts. Ayana’s eyes won’t move depending on the severity of her flare-up. Heat has become her enemy. Having MG makes it difficult to enjoy a warm summer day. A heat wave is unbearable for you and I but for her, it is crippling. MG does not stop one from living a full life or holding down a job. Ayana’s job allows her to work from home whenever symptoms become overwhelming. These days understanding bosses are rare and Ayana’s have been nothing short of supportive. Every bit helps.
Ayana shared her story with me to help her friends. Friends she would probably never see face to face but share her disease. She feels that raising awareness is the only way to ensure that more research is done. The quality of life for those with this disease is depending on it. Hopefully, one day something can be done to make diagnosis faster. Or maybe a cure! In the meantime, hopefully we are all a little wiser after reading this blog. Myastenia Gravis is not a widely known disease but it should be. Holla if you hear me!
For More Info:
Myastenia Gravis Fact Sheet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia_gravis/detail_myasthenia_gravis.htm#179993153
The Movie “Mute Mannequin”: http://youtu.be/4EX2u8–YVg (Copy and Paste the link into your browser)
Facebook Support Group:http://www.facebook.com/groups/6126913853?ap=1
Posted: January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
The old saying, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” has rang true in multiple situations. Here is no different. In fact, this book gives you way more than expected. “Abandoned Property” is the follow up to author Kai Mann’s debut novel “30 Day Notice”. In “Abandoned Property”, we go deeper into the world of Kori Maitlan. We also learn more about her life and those in her inner circle: Jerard, Darius, Jay, Layla, Karina, and Coco.
In true Quentin Tarantino fashion, the beginning chapters bounce from the origins of one character to the next. It can be a little distracting but bear with it. As you make your way through the story, the characters grow up before your very eyes. Soon they become intertwined in life, love, and friendship. Each individual shares a common pain. The pain of Abandonment. In each story, somewhere in the character’s life, abandonment played a key role. We see the impact on all sides and situations. Even as Kori struggles to find herself in her new life, she is bombarded by thoughts of her children in another state with her ex-husband. She maintains contact with them yet she fears they may feel abandoned by her. Kai Mann draws us into that fear through the lives of the other characters. You see the mental scars of Kori’s friends and you really feel for all of them. You can’t help it because we have all been in similar situations.
And that is the beauty of this book. You are in this story. Each character represents you or someone you know. You’ve heard about someone in a situation similar to the ones in this book. I guarantee that you probably gave your best to that person and didn’t think anymore about it. “Abandoned Property” draws you in and doesn’t let you go that easy. You are fully immersed in their world. When you finish this book, the world you live in may not look the same. The stories and lessons in this novel will defiantly help you see people in a different light. The lines between race, creed, and color, vanish in a wave of empathy and enlightenment. If you are against the LGBT lifestyle, most people would say that this is not the book for you. Those people would be wrong. This is the book for you. You might change your mind and open your eyes for the better. This a great read! Holla at this book!
Posted: January 4, 2014 in Uncategorized
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope you like the new look! While on the road much of last year, I realized a few things. Airports, flights, and hotel rooms give you plenty of time to think. I have decided that I will no longer write about Detroit politics. Voter turnout for the last election was at an all time low plus a face to face meeting with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr changed my mind about Detroit. If old habits got us into this mess, then maybe new ones can get us out. Besides, I rather write about our culture, our arts, and artists. Those are the things that keep us going.
The Detroit Lions epitomized another thought I was having towards the end of 2013. I made a lot of progress both professionally and personally but I didn’t feel like I capitalized on anything. I started strong but let a lot of opportunities slip by. I know the old cliché about sweeping away last year and that’s good but I am keeping it all. I encourage you to do the same and if you believe that you had a crappy year, I got news for you… You are still here. As long as you are not dead, you have plenty to work with. Life is not do over; its do better. Sometimes purging one’s life every 365 days can be a bad thing. Don’t get caught up in the hype of a holiday. Bridges set ablaze January 1st can leave you stranded on stagnation island March 1st. That’s why I am declaring 2014 a year of building. Take everything you have acquired last year and build on it; personal relationships included! This time next year, you may find yourself sitting in a very prosperous position! Holla if you hear me!!!!